Saturday 10th August 2013At the Weston Homes Community Stadium
Colchester v Port Vale
Attendance: 3,201 including 441 visiting supporters
COLCHESTER UNITED: Sam Walker, David Wright, Ryan Dickson, Magnus Okuonghae, Craig Eastmond, Sanchez Watt, Freddie Sears, Jabo Ibehre, Tom Eastman, Brian Wilson, Gavin Massey. SUBS: Mark Cousins, Josh Thompson, Clinton Morrison, Andy Bond, Marcus Bean, Alex Gilbey, Drey Wright
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Daneil Jones, Chris Robertson, Carl Dickinson, Liam Chilvers, Doug Loft, Gavin Tomlin, Tom Pope, Chris Lines, Anthony Griffith, Richard Duffy. SUBS: Adam Yates, Louis Dodds, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ben Wiliamson, Kaid Mohamed, Chris Birchall, Lee Hughes
Vale came away from their first visit to the Western Homes Community Stadium empty-handed after a 1-0 defeat to Colchester United.
Vale must have thought they had done enough to deserve a point from the game, but Gavin Massey’s 74th minute goal was enough to decide the result in favour of the home side.
Micky Adams had hinted he would ‘tinker’ with the starting line-up in his pre-match press conference on Thursday, and sure enough he made two changes.
Adam Yates and Jennison Myrie-Williams had to settle for a place on the bench whilst Liam Chilvers and Richard Duffy started.
Colchester started the game brightly, putting the Vale defence under pressure right from the kick off as they looked to make amends for their heavy midweek dfeat in the Capital One Cup.
The U’s looked dangerous every time they went forward and came close to opening the scoring in the 9th minute when Freddie Sears clipped the Vale crossbar from a tight angle.
The home side were playing some decent football, moving the ball around the pitch well, and in the 19th minute they again went close when a stinging drive from Sanchez Watt thankfully took a deflection and the home side had to settle for a corner.
Gavin Massey then found himself clear of the Vale defence with just Chris Neal to beat, but the Vale ‘keeper had come off his line quickly to tighten the angle and did well to get his fingertips to the shot at the expense of another corner.
Vale seemed to be gambling a little at the back and the home side beat the offside trap twice in a couple of minutes, only for Chris Neal to come to the rescue on each occasion.
Carl Dickinson tried his luck with a long range effort at the other end after cutting in from the left and Colchester ‘keeper Sam Walker needed two attempted to get hold of the ball.
A neat move involving Dickinson and Jones saw the latter send the ball into the box for Tom Pope, who managed to get a touch on the ball but not enough to cause Walker any real problems.
Vale were by now settling into the game, looking more and more threatening after looking second best for much of the opening twenty minutes or so.
Micky Adams’ side were getting stronger and stronger as the half went on and from the half hour mark looked more like the Port Vale who did so well away from home last season.
The Valiants looked a little subdued earl on in the second half, though the home side did little to test their resistance, apart from a deflected shot from Sears which flew well wide of the target.
The home side w ere certainly having more of the ball than their opponents, but Vale were able to cope with everything that was thrown at them.
Vale had adopted a cautious approach, preferring to nullify the home side’s attacks and wait for an opportunity to arise at the other end of the pitch.
Vale made their first change in the 66th minute, sending on Lee Hughes to partner Tom Pope up front, with Gavin Tomlin making way.
Sanchez Watt earned himself a yellow card from a very lat challenge on Chris Robertson as the Vale defender cleared.
Seconds later Vale had Carl Dickinson to thank after he cleared a shot from Gavin Massey off the line, then Chris Neal got don well to save Ibehre’s follow up effort.
GOAL: Vale’s luck finally ran out in the 74th minute. Neal did well to get a foot to Ibehre’s angled drive, but the loose ball ran to GAVIN MASSEY at the far post and he gratefully slammed into an empty net to put the home side in control.
Vale responded immediately with a double substitution. Daniel Jones and Tom Pope came off and their places taken by Jennison Myrie-Williams and Ben Williamson.
Neal was called into action again, making a terrific save to save Richard Duffy’s blushes after the defender had stuck out a foot to make an interception.
Vale went looking for a leveller and Ben Williamson got on the end of a cross from Lines, but misjudged his header, only to get a second chance, but this time Walker made a comfortable save.
Doug Loft then went close, firing over with a rasping drive after cutting inside onto his left foot, then Hughes went close with a header which took a deflection and Vale had to settle for a corner.
With five minutes of added time indicated by the fourth official, Vale still had time to get something out of the game, but unfortunately they couldn’t quite manage it.